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Alternative Financing Options

Beyond the usual sources of financial aid, there are also a number of alternative financing options to help students and parents pay for education, including:

The Tuition Payment Plan

Offered through Sallie Mae, the Tuition Payment Plan offers you the opportunity to make interest-free monthly installments of tuition, fees, on-campus housing, and books. It works well for families who can’t afford their entire tuition bill at one time.

How does it work?

The Tuition Pay Plan allows you to split your semester bill into smaller amounts, payable over a four month period. You will owe the same amount of tuition, but will have more time to pay and your payments are much smaller. There is a $35 enrollment fee to join the plan.

How does it make tuition more affordable?

It’s interest-free and gives you longer to pay. Once your bill is stretched into interest-free installments, the need to borrow is minimized or eliminated. Borrowing less means you pay less interest which can add up to great savings. Another benefit of the plan is Tuition Protection Coverage (TPC) which allows for the Plan’s balance to be paid in the event of the death of the bill payer.

How much do I have to pay each month?

Payments can be stretched over a four month period. For example, if you owe $2,500, you would pay four monthly installments of $625 each. Your first installment would include the $35 enrollment fee, making the first payment $660.

What if I can’t afford to pay that much?

You don’t have to pay the entire bill with the Tuition Pay Plan. If needed, loans are available to cover any amount that your current income and savings can’t cover.

How do I enroll in the Tuition Pay Plan?

To enroll in the Tuition Pay Plan, complete the application that will be included with your semester’s billing packet or visit

Alternative/Private Loans

Alternative student loans are offered by banks or lending institutions to help students and parents bridge the gap between the cost of education and the amount of financial aid the student is receiving. These are loans that are not guaranteed by the government and do not offer the same safeguards or deferment options as the federal loan programs. The terms and conditions vary from lender to lender.

Who can apply for an alternative/private student loan?

Students who need additional money to pay for college can apply for alternative loans. Students are encouraged to apply for federal and state financial aid first. Students should only apply for alternative loans after applying for all other sources of financial aid. Once the loan is approved by the lender, Herkimer College will also need to certify the loan amount.

How much can I borrow?

The annual limit on an alternative loan is equal to your cost of attendance minus any other state or federal financial aid you are awarded. In some cases, if the amount approved by the lender is higher than the allowable maximum, it will be reduced by the school.

What is required to obtain an alternative/private loan?

In most cases a student must have a good credit history.  If not, a creditworthy co-signer will be required. All applicants and co-signers will be subject to a credit history check. Herkimer College students are encouraged to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) prior to applying for an alternative/private loan. 

What questions do I ask when shopping for private loans?

How do I apply?

To apply for an alternative/private loan, please access one of the several website resources below. (Note: we do not limit you to these websites; feel free to research other options). If students are approved for an alternative/private loan, the Financial Aid Office will certify the amount of the loan the borrower is eligible for, and notify the lender.

How are the funds disbursed?

Funds are then received by the school’s Bursar’s Office, and applied to any direct charges (tuition, fees, room and board, etc…). Refunds are made payable to the student and will not be generated until all student’s charges are paid in full.

Other Financing Options

  • Home Equity loans and lines of credit are popular borrowing options that provide great flexibility and possible tax-deductibility for the interest.
  • Many retirement plans allow investors to borrow against their retirement savings. Using such a loan to finance your son or daughter’s education can be a complicated decision. Also, many families have other investments or savings that could be used to finance college.
  • Many students/parents make payments with a credit card because of the convenience (web payments) and incentive programs (airline miles, etc.).